Side hustles are becoming a larger part of people’s lives. According to a survey taken in 2019, 45% of working Americans earn extra money outside of their primary income with one or more side hustles. So, it seems to be a great idea to turn a hobby or talent into something that can help you earn and potentially save more money.
Side hustles can mean any work that you take on outside of your primary form of employment. Popular side hustles include writing, dog walking, lawn mowing, delivery services, or other odd jobs.
The variety of work you can do as a side hustle is huge, and the potential income can be just as expansive. However, you do have to figure out whether your side hustle is actually worth it. Sure, any source of income is fantastic, but if you’ve spent the equivalent of a day’s work on a hustle only to earn peanuts, that wasted time and energy can become painful fast.
Some people have managed to turn their side hustle into their main source of income, becoming successful and stable enough to pack in their traditional job. However, this type of work is inherently risky, so deciding to make this leap requires planning and time to figure out exactly how stable your hustle is.
So, let’s figure out what you can do to push your side hustle into something that can turn a useful profit.
1. Plan Ahead
Yes, before you can save time and money, you need to spend a little bit of extra time on the sometimes painfully dull process of planning your schedule and figuring out your finances. This includes your actual earnings and the earnings that you’re aiming for. Download my spreadsheet templates here.
The financial part of things is something you should already be doing, at least documenting the earnings from your side hustle. Even if you’re not earning a huge amount of money, the taxman still wants to know what’s going in your pockets.
It’s far easier to have an accurate running total of your finances that you update when necessary. Also, an accurate rundown of your financial situation is vital for saving money in general. You need to know exactly what you have before spending it, otherwise, you risk running into debt.
Another important thing to keep track of is how much time you’re spending on your side hustle. If you’re earning significantly less than minimum wage and haven’t seen any sign of improvement, then it’s time to reevaluate. A schedule can be a great way to make sure that you have enough time to pick up more work without getting burnt out, and depending on your hustle, make sure that you don’t let any clients down.
Once you have all this information compiled, you can figure out whether your side hustle is profitable or not and work from there. For example, have you discovered extra time in the schedule for more work? Have you found that you need to raise your rates? Could some aspects of your hustle be more efficient?
2. Be Patient
Before you decide to drop your side hustle for being unprofitable, consider the amount of time you’ve been working at it. It can take time for something like this to pick up steam, depending on the industry you’ve chosen to work in. Building up clients and a reputation doesn’t happen overnight, so you may need to work at it for a few months to a few years before seeing any appreciative benefit.
You should find a balance between your expectations and your possibilities and bear this into all that planning you’re doing. Figure out exactly how much time you can give the side hustle to pick up and after that time has elapsed, you can decide how viable your hustle actually is. But a couple of weeks is rarely enough time for it to reach its full potential.
3. Go Online
Nowadays, more and more businesses have moved online. For some side hustles, you’ll have started here. For example, freelance writing and digital media creation are jobs you already do from your computer, so using the internet to find clients and deliver your work is second nature. Online job boards are your bread and butter with these industries, especially when you’re first starting.
However, the online world isn’t limited to digital workers. If your side hustle is service-based, like gardening or caregiving work, you can still use the internet to your advantage. There are also online job boards that cater to this type of worker, connecting you to potential clients in your area and finding more work.
Finally, if your side hustle is focused on making and selling a product, eCommerce is the best way to make more sales. Even better, collating your eCommerce data in one place will allow you to keep track of how well you’re doing and plan ahead. This avenue makes a profitable side hustle far more likely.
4. Manage Your Clients
Every side hustle requires some kind of relationship with a client, and managing clients correctly is pretty much the only way to make money. In addition, developing a good relationship with a client is the only way to gain a good reputation in your chosen sector and to be able to build up your side hustle.
If you keep clients on your good side, you’re more likely to get repeat work and to have other clients referred to your services, allowing you to build a larger network.
However, beware of taking on every client or working for peanuts. This might seem a given when you first start, but continuing to work for almost no money devalues your services and makes it impossible to progress. Instead, raise your rates when necessary, and be willing to fire unprofitable clients if you need to.
Keep your head down and focus on bringing value to others. More than likely, you may find your side hustle has grown into a proper business.